Carbon Dynamics in the Temperate Forest

  • Mary L. Tyrrell
  • Jeffrey Ross
  • Matthew Kelty


Twenty-five percent of the world’s forests are in the temperate biome. They include a wide range of forest types, and the exact boundaries with boreal forests to the north and tropical forests to the south are not always clear. There is a great variety of species, soil types, and environmental conditions which lead to a diversity of factors affecting carbon storage and flux. Temperate forests have been severely impacted by human use – throughout history, all but about 1% have been logged-over, converted to agriculture, intensively managed, grazed, or fragmented by sprawling development. Nevertheless, they have proven to be resilient – mostly second growth forests now cover about 40–50% of the original extent of the biome. Although remaining intact temperate forests continue to be fragmented by development, particularly in North America, there is no large-scale deforestation at present, nor is there likely to be in the future. The status of the temperate biome as a carbon reservoir and atmospheric CO2 sink rests mainly on strong productivity and resilience in the face of disturbance. The small “sink” status of temperate forests could change to a “source” status if the balance between photosynthesis and respiration shifts.


Fine Root Carbon Stock Carbon Storage Temperate Forest Coarse Woody Debris 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ConservationUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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